AMD Project Quantum is a tiny, water-cooled PC built for VR

AMD wants to give you a look at the future — the future of VRgaming, that is. They call their two-chambered rig Project Quantum, and they’ve managed to pack a dual GPU graphics card into its tiny chassis.

Project Quantum

 

Project Quantum’s two-chambered case is an eye-catching design, and it creates the illusion that the cooling chamber is floating above the rest of the hardware. As cool as it looks, it’s really about thermal management. AMD opted for a water-cooling system. Large copper blocks sit on the CPU and GPUs in the bottom chamber. They’re plumbed up through a “chimney” in the center of the case and into a massive radiator in the top chamber. An equally massive fan — roughly the same size as the mini-ITX board below it — quietly exhausts the unwanted heat.

One other interesting note about Project Quantum: it’s running an Intel processor. There could be a dozen different reasons, but using a competitor’s components in a product isn’t exactly uncommon in the tech world. Just look at how many Samsung parts are inside Apple products.

Besides, the real star of the show here isn’t the processor. It’s the Fiji XT graphics, with its dual GPUs and mind-blowing 17 teraflops of processing power. That’s more than enough power to deliver crystal-clear VR experiences.

How do you cram a dual-GPU graphics card into a box this size? It’s only slightly larger than the ASRock mini-ITX mainboard that sits in the bottom, after all. A big reason that AMD was able to shrink things down is that they’re using HBM (high-bandwidth memory) which the company has been working on with Hynix since 2013. HBM allows for for compact PCB designs (up to 65% percent smaller than current designs) and it also reduces power requirements (by as much as 68% over DDR5).

Another way you can save space is by moving the power supply outside the case, just like some companies do with their gaming consoles. It’s the box to the right in the picture above.

Now for the important questions: how much will Project Quantum cost and when can you get one? Well, unfortunately AMD’s just showing the thing off for now. You probably won’t ever see AMD themselves turn out something like this (what with that Intel chip inside), but it’s possible that another company — maybe even ASRock, who supplied the mainboard — will whip something up for us.